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Pathfinder Adventure Path #79: The Half-Dead City (Mummy’s Mask 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

***½( ) (based on 10 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #79: The Half-Dead City (Mummy’s Mask 1 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 1: "The Half-Dead City"
By Jim Groves

The Mummy's Mask Adventure Path begins with "The Half-Dead City," an exciting new adventure in the pyramid-laden realm of Osirion, Land of Pharaohs! In the city of Wati, the church of Pharasma holds a lottery allowing explorers to delve the tombs of the city's vast necropolis in search of the nation's lost glories. In the course of investigating dusty tombs and fighting their ancient guardians and devious traps, the heroes encounter a group of rival adventurers intent on keeping one tomb's treasures for themselves. At the same time, the heroes learn that a dangerous artifact has been stolen from the tomb. Can the adventurers defeat their rivals, or will they fall to the undead defenders of the city's necropolis?

This volume of the Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Mummy's Mask Adventure Path and includes:

  • "The Half-Dead City," a Pathfinder adventure for 1st-level characters, by Jim Groves.
  • A double-sized gazetteer of Wati exploring both parts of this vibrant city dedicated to the dead, by Crystal Frasier.
  • A rough welcome to Wati in the Pathfinder Journal, by Amber E. Scott.
  • Five dangerous new monsters, by Jim Groves, Will McCardell, and Michael McCarthy.

Each monthly full-color softcover Pathfinder Adventure Path volume contains an in-depth adventure scenario, stats for several new monsters, and support articles meant to give Game Masters additional material to expand their campaign. Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes use the Open Game License and work with both the Pathfinder RPG and the world’s oldest fantasy RPG.

Cover Art by Tyler Jacobson.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-588-4

The Half-Dead City is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle sheet are available as a free download (595 KB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

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Non-Mint: This product is non-mint. Refunds are not available for non-mint products. The standard version of this product can be found here.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at webmaster@paizo.com.

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Product Reviews (10)
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Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 10 ratings)

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Review

****( )

The good thing about THDC is that is set in Ossirion, the land of the exotic and the hot. The bad thing is that THDC starts slow, very slow in fact - the first third of this adventure felt more like a training session for the beginners - few monsters, few traps and some treasure. The speed began to pick up in the second third, but even then the action was uneven, and in the final third THDC did feel like a proper RPG game, but the problem was that there was little connection between the three parts. Yes, it did give us plenty of time to play-act various scenes...but this situation works only when players want to play-act; otherwise, it is just a waste of time. THDC feels more like three different adventures combined into one, and this isn't the best of feelings.


Please Paizo, improve the book binding

****( )

First, I need to comment on the book binding. These are very nice, magazine style paperback books. But, after paging through the first third or so several times prepping for the first session, the pages are falling out. I'm very careful with the book, nothing got pulled on, and I don't flatten the book open nor strain the binding in any way. The glue binding just starts falling apart and now a whole section of pages has fallen out completely. This is incredibly disappointing for what otherwise is a great looking book. It makes me limit how many times I dare crack open the other volumes I've received.

As for the adventure itself:
The other reviews here are right on, the adventure/encounters are good, and if you do some flavor work-up around the theme of tomb-raiding, it can be interesting - but yeah, the whole first couple adventures into the Necropolis just seem to be completely disconnected to the actual story.

I would have liked to see one or two encounters based on exploring outside in the necropolis on the way to something, running into more unexpected troubles (other than the ambush already there, I mean). It does provide some good suggestion-type details on the necropolis to make this on your own. I would suggest cutting the second adventure site in half (both the layout and number of encounters) and having the party deal with two other encounters out in the necropolis based on where they say they go.

It does, however, lend itself well to a group that isn't very experienced in a table-top rpg, and maybe that's what Paizo had in mind here. The distinct chunks of tomb exploration are a great "intro to dungeon delving", if you will. The dungeons, traps, treasure, and random encounters are all there without the risk of being away from town. That can really help a new group. And if you're a GM that makes traps more interesting than default, those fit in pretty well.


Dragged down by lackluster premise

***( )( )

Site ate my review, annoyingly, so I'll write a shorter, bulletpoints version.

* The premise of the adventure is boring as hack. In the half city, half necropolis of Wati, local authorities allow adventuring parties to delve into some of the city's many tombs and ancient, undisturbed locations. The PCs do explore those tombs, one after another, with no surprises or changes of pace, everything going in a predictable manner.

* The adventure has literally nothing to do with the plot of the APs. Even in previous APs that had first adventures mostly used to set up the parameters of the story than the story itself, it least there was always some pivotal moment near the end of the adventure that helped to start the overall plot going. Think Second Darkness, if you've had the chance to play or read it. Here, however, there's one tiny detail the players might not even notice, that hints that something that's maybe important may have happened (someone entered a tomb before them and took something from it). In short, no relation to the overall story.

* The execution, given the weak premise, is surprisingly good. Each of the three dungeons feels very different from the other two, and the variety keeps things fresh even if, in principle, this adventure is about the same thing happening three times.

* There is very little roleplaying built into the adventure as written, though some of the stuff makes for good jumping points for the GM to add stuff of her own. However, if you expect Shattered Star levels of roleplaying within a dungeon, you will be disappointed

* Very nice new monsters (living scrolls? yes please!)

Overall, when I'm reading the first installment in a new AP, I'm looking for something to grab me - and here, nothing did. that is because the premise itself, which I find bland and unexciting. That's not a good sign for a new AP, I'll tell you that. However, I'm sure the adventure will be decent fun to play through, hence the 3 star rating.


The Half Dead City

***( )( )

First time writing a review so hold on and see if I can work my way through this one. Also this will contain spoilers.

First, I like everyone else I was super excited for an Osirian Adventure.

This AP does it well but nothing too spectacular and definitely falls flatter than typical first adventures. Starting out as a group of tomb raiders is awesome. The three different tombs have a lot of flavor and are interesting (I especially enjoyed the love haunt in the 2nd "tomb"), but ultimately aren't anything to get super excited about. The set up of who else was in the tomb is nice. Its good to see setup for things to be paid off later.

The Scorched Hand's motivation, at least to the PCs, just seems to be uninteresting and in part unexplained. Also, the end goal isn't clearly defined, I might be wrong but typically I thought the first adventure would give some hints to the PCs as to what their ultimate goal is. This one just doesn't have that (for good or for bad). So at the end it just seems like the PCs are going to keep tomb raiding until the end of books six.

Overall, good toe in the sand (see what I did there? ;) ) but nothing too mind blowing. Still excited to see what happens next, hopefully it will build up rather than having the high start, slow middle, and climatic finish like most typical APs.

Hope you enjoyed my review,

Casey


A calm, but rather good start

****( )

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

The Half-Dead City is very much a dungeon crawl, and while I’m not the biggest fan of pure dungeon crawls, this is a well-made one and one I can imagine myself running at some point. As a consequence of delving into tombs, there’s not a lot of opportunity for interaction with NPCs, but nonetheless, it does manage to have several extremely well-developed and interesting NPCs. The PCs may not get a lot of time with these characters, but that time will almost certainly be memorable (assuming the GM plays them well).


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